In the world around, we are often taught that destiny is in our hands and this way we are motivated to work hard. We find in our own life and the lives of others that success sometimes slips out of hands often at the last moment or success only comes after a series of failures. We have the example of Titanic and Thomas Edison. We have the example of Dronacharya in front of us. Dronacharya is an expert archer trained by the great Parasurama. But he is placed in abject poverty. Is the destiny in our hands or is destiny out of our hands? If we take a look at our life – there are things that are beyond our control – our appearance, our parents, our place of birth etc. Our body to great extent is also not in our control – it gets diseased, it gets old. But everything is not out of our control either. The answer is both. Our destiny is both in our hands and out of our hands. This is corroborated by BG 18.14 – the five factors of action are the place of action, the performer (we), instruments, endeavors and divinity.
Even if we are skilled and gifted, it is not guaranteed that we will be successful. The place may not be right, the endeavors may not be complete enough,we may not have access to the perfect instruments. Therefore to succeed in this world, we need to be perservant, patient and consistent in our efforts. Dronacharya tried many ways to be successful. Then he approached Drupada for help. It did not work. But he did not give up. He tried approaching the Kurus and it finally worked.
However the success in this world is temporary and does not give complete fulfillment. The most handsome and beautiful stars get old, the fastest and strongest athletes are compelled to become slow and weak on aging. Even if we accumulate a lot of wealth and resources, our ability to enjoy them is limited. But our thirst to succeed and seek fulfilment is unending. We cannot base our success on things of this world. It will eventually lead to ever increasing frustration. BG 8.15 advises us to look for success in the spiritual realm which is eternal and devoid of any kind of misery. Therefore we need to complement our efforts to succeed in this world with spirituality and eventually spiritualize all our efforts as advocated in Bhagavad Gita.